austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,

Do I have to keep on talking till I can't go on?

The community college where I worked last term, on that accelerated QuickTerm eight-week course, wanted me back, this time to teach two ordinary-length classes. I was glad to accept: besides the fun of teaching, having a wider portfolio would give me a stronger position of seeking academic work later this year, when I move out to Lansing to live with bunny_hugger and try to do a hip 2010's remake of The Halls of Ivy. Plus, it would make it easier to stick with the three-day workweeks, which, even though they require me to be in the office for ten hours straight, and keep me away from yoga, are really good matches for the way I work. I don't have to get up so early so often, and I'm far less sleep-deprived than I had been even on the four-day schedule.

The catch was I kind of didn't exactly ask the boss if he was okay with this, where by ``exactly'' I might more exactly mean ``at all''. I trusted he would be, since, well, I've been doing excellent work, and it's got precedent now, and asking to keep doing something that's working out fine is normally fine. Plus, I'd extended the three-day thing a couple of weeks for good cause --- bunny_hugger visiting, and arranging so I could watch over my father while he was in hospital or rehab --- so it wasn't even that much a change of pace.

However. The secretary, while happy to grant waivers for things like the visits when the boss was out of the country anyway, wanted his explicit approval before making it my schedule through to May. Fair enough. When she finally found him, and asked him, he said no. Uhm. I learned this last Monday; the start of classes was Tuesday. The boss wasn't answering his phone.

My hypothesis was that while the boss said no, he'd still be willing to allow it; he just wanted to establish that he had the power to reject it. So I continued to work my three-day schedule as if I had permission, and on Wednesday what do you know but he did come in, and following a long rambling discussion of what he'd been up to the past month, I asked him directly about the schedule. I pointed out he wasn't getting any less of my time, and he was getting excellent work out of me on this schedule --- he really is --- and before I could go much farther he approved.

So, I consider my hypothesis confirmed. The boss may say no to things, but that's because he wants to prove he can say no before saying yes. I should probably remember this lesson for later negotiations and things.

Trivia: About 85 percent of Explorer I's cosmic ray apparatus measurements were lost, as the satellite had no storage device and few ground stations could detect it. Source: Project Vanguard: The NASA History, Constance McLaughlin Green, Milton Lomask. NASA SP-4202.

Currently Reading: Earth Magic, Alexei and Cory Panshin.


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